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Sports Editor: Marc Vieau | | 775-NEWS (6397)

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Main Events
Girls Basketball:
Cadillac at Petoskey 6 p.m.
Boys Basketball:
Reed City at Big
Rapids. 7 p.m.
Girls Basketball:
Manton at Pine
River. 7:30 p.m.
Girls Basketball:
NMC at Evart.
7:30 p.m.
Girls Basketball:
Marion at Lake
City. 7:30 p.m.
Boys Basketball:
Cadillac at Petoskey. 7:30 p.m.

On Deck

Big Ten

First place
is on the
line when
MSU hosts
Get the


SCOREBOARD B4 | friday, january 24, 2014

Alone at the top

fine with
deal talk

Bucks unbeaten in
Highland after win
over Beal City
cadillac news

AP Baseball Writer

LEROY — They’ve handled each challenge well.
Now they get to add another big one to that list, too.
Pine River started out
hot and played quite well
en route to a 70-59 win over
Beal City in a key Highland
Conference boys’ basketball
contest Thursday night.
The win gives the Bucks
(9-1 overall) sole possession
of first place in the league at
6-0 with one game remaining in the first half of the
“We’re right where we
want to be in the conference,” Pine River coach
Brian Goodenow said. “We
also know teams are going
to give us everything they
Early on, it was Pine
River’s Skyler Nelson giving his team everything he
had. The senior guard was
on fire from beyond the arc
and helped stake the Bucks
to an 18-7 lead after the first
On the other side of the
ball, the defensive effort was
just as strong as almost half
of Beal City’s points in the
first half came from the freethrow line.
“Skyler was hot and took
it to them early,” Goodenow
said. “Our defense was very
good in the first half, too,
and we never let them get
started. Ten of their firsthalf points came from the
free-throw line.”
Pine River led 37-22 at
halftime and continued its
strong play through the
third quarter as it led 54-36
going into the fourth.
Goodenow commended
the play of his guards for
handling Beal City’s heavy
pressure in the fourth quarter and commended Lucas
Harris for his continued
“Lucas is really starting

DETROIT — Max Scherzer was ready for all the
questions — and he doesn't
seem to mind that his contract status is such a big
topic as spring training approaches.
"I figured you guys wanted to talk about it, but this is
the perfect time, during the
offseason, when we're not
playing baseball," Scherzer
Scherzer was at Comerica
Park on Thursday for the
start of the Detroit Tigers'
winter caravan. He recently agreed to a one-year,
$15,525,000 deal with the
Tigers, avoiding arbitration but leaving plenty of
questions still unanswered
about his future.
Scherzer, last year's AL
Cy Young Award winner,
can become a free agent
after this season. He says
he has no problem fielding
questions about his future
now, before spring training
starts. By the time opening
day rolls around, though,
he'll be focused on pitching.
So there's a sense the
clock is ticking if the Tigers want to lock up their
star right-hander before he
reaches free agency. Detroit
signed ace Justin Verlander
to a $180 million, seven-year
deal shortly before last season, avoiding the prospect
of Verlander testing the
open market. But Verlander
was two seasons away from
free agency. Scherzer has
only one more to go.
"Every player wants to be
a free agent," Scherzer said.
"At the same time, you realize we've got a good thing
here in Detroit."
The Tigers have won
three straight AL Central titles, and Scherzer went 21-3
with a 2.90 ERA last season,
winning the Cy Young two
years after Verlander did.

marc vieau | cadillac news

Pine River’s Mitchell McDonald drives to the basket against Beal City’s Tucker Gross (2) and Luke Farrell
(22) during Thursday’s Highland Conference contest. The Bucks beat the Aggies 70-59.
to come on and become the
type of varsity basketball
player he needs to be,”
Goodenow said.
“We had balanced scoring
again tonight, too, and were

12 of 12 from the free-throw
Nelson paced Pine River
with 16 points, five rebounds
and five assists while Mitchell McDonald had 16 points,

six rebounds and seven assists. Harris had 16 points,
eight rebounds and two
Pine River hosts Evart on

McBain boys start fast, hold off Evart for Highland win
cadillac news

EVART — McBain jumped out
to a fantastic start, then held on
through three quarters to beat
Evart, 65-44 in boys' Highland
Conference basketball action
Thursday night.
The Ramblers (6-4 overall) won
their fourth straight league contest and fifth overall to move to
4-2 in conference play.
Against the Wildcats, the visi-

tors looked like they just might
run their hosts out of the building after the opening quarter,
taking a 33-4 lead.
"We just played extremely
well," McBain coach Bruce Koopman said of the Ramblers' start.
"Defensively were were right
on cue, rebounding well, transitioning well, moving the ball
well — it was like if you were
going to show a video to the
team, those first eight minutes

would've been it.
"Then we just lost focus."
Evart took full advantage, using a 19-8 second quarter run
to trim the lead to 41-23 at the
break, but the Ramblers kept
their composure and held on.
Cole Powell paced McBain
with 17 points, shooting 50
percent from the field overall
and hitting on 3-of-6 3-pointers.
Kyle Heuker had 11 points and
grabbed eight boards, while

Tristan Wilson scored 10.
The Ramblers hit just 36 percent from the field overall, but
41 percent from beyond the arc
while outrebounding the Wildcats 44-27.
Koopman praised the efforts
of point guard Grant Gugle, who
had eight assists and hit a pair
of triples, while Ty Sterk added
eight points.
"Everybody got some quality
minutes," Koopman said. "I was

Reed City shuts down
rival Big Rapids
anything lower than 30
points is a very good night.
"Our defense is solid and
REED CITY — The shots
the rebounding is good,"
will fall eventually.
At least Brian Koopman Koopman said. "I like what
we're doing there."
is praying they do.
Reed City led 8-4 after the
Until then, though, Reed
first quarter and took a 21City used strong defense
12 lead into halftime. It was
and rebounding to beat
32-17 going into the fourth
rival Big Rapids 44-29 in a
Central State Activities As- quarter.
Makenzie Switzer paced
sociation girls' basketball
the Coyotes with 10 points
contest Thursday night.
and five steals while NataThe Coyotes have done
lie Westhoff added nine
a good job running their
points and nine rebounds.
offense of late and have
Karah Hensel had eight
gotten good looks but the
points and five steals while
shots aren't falling.
Alaina Woodard grabbed
"We've got to start making some shots," Koopman seven rebounds.
Reed City (7-5 overall, 7-3
said. "Offensively, we are
CSAA) is at Morley Stangetting good looks."
wood on Monday.
When the shots don't
drop, it comes down to
defense and rebounding to
Reed City’s Natalie Westhoff
win games. The Coyotes
is fouled by Big Rapids’ Kailey
outrebounded the CardiHunt during Thursday’s CSAA
nals 42-26 Thursday and

just disappointed in our lack of
focus. Give Evart credit — they
continued to play hard.
"We'll take the win," he added.
"We just need to keep grinding
it out."
McBain is at Marion Tuesday,
while Evart is at Pine River the
same night.
• McBain won the JV contest,
Craig Sterk paced the Ramblers (8-2) with 21 points.

Morgan back in
spotlight for Michigan

cadillac news

the associated press

marc vieau | cadillac news

Beilein admits he couldn't
have foreseen this from
Jordan Morgan.
It's not that the Michigan
senior isn't capable. It's just
that Morgan wasn't necessarily expected to play all
that much this season.
"You had Mitch (McGary) and you have Jon
(Horford)," said Beilein.
Now McGary is hurt,
and it's Morgan who has
become the starter in his
place, helping Michigan
to an eight-game winning
streak that has the Wolverines unbeaten in conference play heading into Saturday night's showdown at
No. 3 Michigan State.
"It's going to be a very
tough environment, tough
opponent," Morgan said.
"They're going to be very

physical. We've just got to
be ready."
No doubt Morgan will
be a big part of Michigan's
preparation, from the
standpoint of both on-court
strategy and off-court leadership.
He's an elder statesman
on a team with several
sophomores and freshmen
playing important roles.
McGary was considered
perhaps Michigan's best
player after Trey Burke and
Tim Hardaway Jr. left for
the NBA. But the 6-foot-10
McGary is out indefinitely
because of a back injury.
Enter the 6-foot-8 Morgan, who has started 103
games for Michigan and
was a key player on the
team that won a share of
the Big Ten title in 2012, before McGary and most of
the current roster had ever
suited up.

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